Hello, my name is Charlotte and I work in the Widening Access team at the University of Derby.
In today's session, I'm going to talk to you a little bit about the options your child has on the pathway to their chosen career.
When your child starts secondary school, it is likely that they will have the opportunity to study a full range of subjects at school, providing them with the opportunity to find subjects that they enjoy, or are good at.
In most schools, when students are in Year 8 or Year 9, they will start to consider the subjects that they would like to study in more detail for their GCSEs. Many schools run options evenings around this time, for your child to find out more information about the subjects they can study.
Students will study their GCSEs in Year 10 and 11. Some subjects are compulsory at GCSE level and have to be studied by all young people, including English, maths and science. Some schools also make other subjects compulsory so it's worth checking what your child is required to study.
Different schools will offer a different range of subjects at GCSE level and different combinations based on timetabling.
Students now have to stay in education or training until they are 18. But there are many options about where they can study, including at a school sixth form, college or with an employer through an apprenticeship.
In the coming slides, I will talk through some of the differences between A-levels, BTECs, T-levels and apprenticeships.
At 18, your child has the option to study at university for a degree or a degree apprenticeship, where they spend time at university whilst working with an employer. Or alternatively, they can find a job. This is known as post-18 education.
It is important to note that many colleges and sixth forms will require your child to have passed GCSE English and maths to a grade 4 and above, comparable to the old GCSE grade C. I will provide more information on the new GCSE grading system shortly.
Some schools ask students to select their GCSE subjects based on the EBacc or English Baccalaureate. The EBacc is a set of subjects at GCSE, aimed to keep a young person's options open for further study and future careers. The EBacc includes English language and literature, maths, the sciences, geography or history, and a language. Ask your school to find if your child is required to select subjects from the EBacc subject list.
Instead of GCSEs being graded at A* to G, subjects are now awarded a 9-1. The highest three grades are 9, 8, and 7. These are replacements for the A and A*, with the top 20% of grades being awarded a 9.
Many sixth forms and colleges will require your child to have passed English and maths to a grade 4. Most universities will also be looking for your students to have passed 5 subjects to a grade 4 and above, including maths, English and sometimes science, depending on the course. If your child does not pass these subjects for the first time to a grade 4 and above level, there will be the option to re-take.
A-levels are a traditional route at post-16, where students will typically study 3 subjects at the same time, over 2 years. Sixth forms and colleges offer A-levels, but not all providers will offer the full range of subjects. When selecting A-level subjects, it is important for your child to consider what they are good at and they enjoy, if there any subjects or grades they may need to pursue a particular career or job, or if they want to keep their future study and career options open.
BTEC stands for the Business and Technology Education Council. BTECs combine learning with subject knowledge. They are designed for students who are interested in a particular sector but may or may not know what job they would like to do yet. In most sixth forms or colleges you can take a BTEC alongside an A-level if you want to. Students typically study between 1-3 BTEC subjects. Sometimes BTECs are equivalent to more than one A-level. BTECs can be studied at colleges or sixth forms but check your local provider for a list of BTEC subjects.
The University of Derby accepts both BTECs and A-levels for entry to a university degree, but it worth checking your child's university of choice accepts BTECs too.
T-levels are a new 2-year course, equivalent to 3 A-levels, available for students in England to study from September 2020. T-levels are based on the same standard as apprenticeships. Students will include a mixture of classroom learning and on the job placement, approximately 45 days. Students will be awarded a pass, merit, distinction, or distinction star. Your child can still go to university with a T-level if the university accepts UCAS tariff points.
The first T-levels started in 2020 are in digital production, design and development; design surveying and planning; and education. From autumn 2021, T-levels will possibly be available in services engineering; digital business services; digital support and services; health; healthcare science; on-site construction; and science. Check your local provider to find out if they are offering T-levels.
Apprenticeships can also be studied at level 3, known as an advanced apprenticeship, which is equivalent to 2 A-level passes. All apprenticeships include elements of on-the-job and off-the-job training. Some apprenticeships will require an assessment at the end of the programme to assess ability and competence in the job role.
Your child may be confused about whether to study at college or sixth form and which option is best for them. It is important to start by finding which provides the subjects your child wishes to study. Whilst colleges often have a wider range of subjects available for study, at sixth form your child may be taught by the same teacher who taught them at GCSE, which they may find reassuring. Ask your child whether they would benefit from some newfound independence at college or if they would prefer to study with the continued support from their peers and teachers in the school. College can be a good stepping stone to study independently ahead of going to university. However, even at sixth form students will need to study independently in their own time.
This may seem far into the future but it is important for your child to consider their next steps and find out if qualifications, grades, or experience are required for their chosen career.
An alternative to a full undergraduate degree at university is a degree apprenticeship, where they will work for an employer whilst studying for a degree at university. They may study at university for a couple of days a month or a term rather than full time, like the usual undergraduate degree.
Alternatively, an internship will allow your child to spend in a company, to learn new skills and gain experience in a particular industry or job role for a fixed period of time. A bit like an extension of a work experience placement. Internships can be paid or unpaid.
A gap year is another alternative and offers the opportunity to gain skills and experience, whilst reflecting and focusing on their next steps. Some students decide to engage in work experience or travel for a year before going to university. They may decide to apply to university before they leave but defer their place for a year.
Some students may also decide to study abroad. Some universities offer this as part of the degree programme in the UK. Alternatively, students can study for their whole degree in another country.
To start in September 2022 at university, students will need to apply by these deadlines. Most students choose to apply through UCAS, an online platform to apply to university.
The 15 October is the entry deadline for the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and for most courses in medicine, veterinary science, and dentistry. Your child can add choices with a different deadline later but don't forget they only have 5 choices in total.
The 15 January is the deadline for the majority of courses, however, your child's sixth form or college will want to provide a reference so check with your school for their particular deadline.
If your child does not meet the deadline, they can still apply for many courses, but it worth checking with the university if they still have spaces left on the course.
A good place to start to help your child prepare for university is to explore different universities through open days or virtual open days, which are online.
Speaking to current students in person or virtually is a great way to find out if your child will fit in.
Take the time to explore the city and the range of accommodation options available to them, including university-owned halls, private halls, and private housing.
Your child can apply for up to five courses at university through UCAS. As part of the application, students will need to write a personal statement, displaying their passion for their subject area, whilst demonstrating the skills and experience they have gained. This is also a useful time for your child to gain work experience and take part in clubs and activities, which will provide them with new skills.
Encourage your child to apply for student finance as early as possible to make sure their finances are in place before their degree starts. The deadline to apply is the 22 May for the new students. Even if they don't know which course they are doing, they should still apply now and apply to their first choice university. Find out more about student finance in our Finance facts and figures presentation for parents and carers.
If your child is looking to apply to Oxbridge they need to consider the earlier application deadline, which takes into consideration time for tests, possible submission of written work, and interviews. Once the application is the application is received, it will be disseminated for a college or department to review. Test scores will be added, where appropriate, and interview shortlisting will then take place. Oxbridge applicants will be assessed based on their academic achievement, admissions tests, written work, personal statement, interview, and the teacher's reference.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to our pathways for parents and carers presentation.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on the details listed on this screen.
Widening Access Team University of Derby Kedleston Road Derby DE22 1GB